Ardan Patwardhan and Wim Hagen receive Scientific Achievement Award

The Royal Microscopical Society recognises Ardan Patwardhan and Wim Hagen’s contributions to the field of electron microscopy

visual with portraits of Ardan Patwardhan and Wim Hagen
RMS Scientific Achievement Award winners Ardan Patwardhan (left) and Wim Hagen (right). Credit: Creative Team/EMBL

The Royal Microscopical Society (RMS) Scientific Achievement Award celebrates and marks outstanding scientific achievements in any area of microscopy or flow cytometry. Ardan Patwardhan, Team Leader in Cellular Structure and 3D Bioimaging at EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), and Wim Hagen, Senior Engineer in Electron Microscopy in the Mattei Team, are among the winners of the award in 2022 for their contributions to the field of electron microscopy.

Ardan Patwardhan – Making microscopy data openly available

During his career, Patwardhan has worked in different fields of microscopy and has been at the forefront of demonstrating the importance of data in microscopy.

Patwardhan has made huge strides in the promotion and development of tools for the curation and sharing of microscopy data. He has been working at EMBL-EBI since 2011 where he has been one of the driving forces behind a number of microscopy databases, including the Electron Microscopy Public Image Archive EMPIAR. EMPIAR is the home for raw images underpinning 3D cryo-EM maps and tomograms and an invaluable tool for the structural and cellular biology fields.

EMPIAR has been instrumental in supporting software and general methods development, in enabling validation of cryo-EM structures, and in providing data for community challenges, teaching, and training. The scope of EMPIAR has gradually expanded and now incorporates archiving support for various kinds of X-ray imaging data and volume electron microscopy (vEM) – imaging techniques used to reveal the 3D structure of cells and tissues at nanometre resolution.

Patwardhan is also one of the co-founders of the volume EM Community Initiative in the UK that has now grown into a vibrant international group. In addition, he played a role in the early stages of the Collaborative Computational Project for Electron cryo-Microscopy (CCP-EM) project and was one of the thought-leaders behind the establishment of EMBL-EBI’s BioImage Archive – a one-stop shop for reference bioimaging data.

Patwardhan has been one of the driving forces in demonstrating the importance and power of data in the field of electron microscopy. He has not only done this through his scientific publications but also by bringing together different imaging communities through his high levels of engagement.

Wim Hagen – Developing methods for cryo-electron microscopy

Hagen currently administers a pool of eight transmission electron microscopes, training users, troubleshooting equipment, and running electron microscopy projects for visitors at EMBL Heidelberg. 

He has set up extensive software automation for high-throughput, high-quality electron microscopy data acquisition, and developed a dose symmetric tilt scheme for high-resolution sub-tomogram averaging. 

Hagen’s impact on the field of cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has been huge. Using his engineering background, he has designed and implemented cryo-ET workflows which are widely adopted in the field and used worldwide.

Hagen also established what is colloquially and commonly known as ‘Hagen Scheme’, the use of dose symmetric acquisition schemes. These data acquisition schemes are the foundation for a growth in subtomogram averaging projects, as well as an improvement in their resolution.

Hagen is an accomplished cryoEM facility manager who has driven and supported a wide range of methods development work which has benefitted the cryoEM community, including detector benchmarking and single particle cryoEM acquisition schemes.

Read the full award announcement on the RMS website and find out more about this year’s winners.

Tags: award, cryo-em, embl-ebi, heidelberg, mattei, microscopy, Patwardhan


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